PHOENIX (CN) – A woman claims an auto repair shop exacted revenge for her complaints about its work by posting a sexual ad with her phone number on Craigslist. She and her husband, a school board member, seek punitive damages from the Gilbert-based repair shop, Superduty HQ, its manager and employees.
Debra Andresen and her husband Carl sued the auto shop in Maricopa County Court. She says the trouble began after she took their 2003 Ford Excursion to Superduty for front-end suspension repairs, and picked it up on Dec. 21, 2010.
Around Jan. 3, the Andresens say, they noticed that “half the front-end suspension parts (on the passenger side) installed by SDHQ were covered in surface rust, while the driver side parts appeared new.”
Debra took the Excursion back to SDHQ on Jan. 5 to have the work tightened and to have the rust painted, but the shop refused to paint the rust despite its 90-day warranty, the Andresens say.
Debra says defendant Ryan Marselis, “the sole member and manager of SDHQ,” told her, “I don’t care how much you spend in my shop. I will not touch your truck or work on your truck again. … Here are your keys, get out.”
Debra says she then posted a warning on Craigslist, writing in third person: “Shoppers Beware – Just an FYI – at SDHQ at Gilbert, Az. I was there while they were yelling at this lady with a kid. I am a guy so I just stayed out of it and listened. They treated her with disrespect in front of her kid and gave her the keys to her vehicle and said they will never work on it again. They obviously did some work and the customer wanted help to fix what they repaired. I wanted to help the lady and I didn’t get a change [sic] to get her name but I figure I can help this way. I guess they don’t warranty there [sic] work.”
A few hours later, Debra says, she began to receive “the first of what would be an onslaught of sexual texts on her cell phone from different people.” The text messages included: “Twenty seven white male in east mesa lookin to play,” and “Still looking for someone? I have my house to myself right now. I’m athletic and in shape and rdy …”
She say she also received photos with one text that showed “approximately 13 sex toys laid out on a bed” and a “close up of an erect penis being fondled in front of the camera lens, with a clear view of a television in the background on which can be seen a graphic and explicit sexual act involving two women, a man, and sex toys.”
She says she replied to one of the unknown texters, saying she did not post the Craigslist ad, and asking the ad number.
The ad, she says, was placed in Craigslist’s “Personal Encounters” section and claimed that Debra was “looking for anyone that satisfies, I’m not partial to male or female, trans I’ll take it!” and included her phone number with a note to “text only please.”
Debra says she became “hysterical” and worried that “someone was going to come over and rape her.” She called the Chandler Police Department, which sent an officer who subpoenaed the IP address of the poster. She and the police found that the IP address belonged to SDHQ, the auto shop in Gilbert, “and that the account was in the names of Ryan Marselis and Serena Pruett.”
Pruett, also a defendant, is an SDHQ employee, according to the complaint.
Andresen say that when the police officer went to the shop and showed Marselis “the unauthorized, sexual Craigslist posting” about her, “He looked at it for less that two seconds, and turned his head away from it. He then stated that if this is going any where [sic], he needs to consult with his attorney.”
She says Marselis told the investigating officer “that he has a Google alert to let him know immediately any time something gets posted anywhere on the Internet about SDHQ.”
Andresen says she was terrified for the entire two weeks it took to find out who was behind the sex posting. She says she obtained a protective injunction against harassment from Marselis and Pruett.
But the harassment did not stop, she says, and some of it came people in a Ford pickup with an SDHQ sticker in its rear window. She says she believes the harassers “were defendants’ agents, and their conduct was intended to threaten, harass, intimidate, coerce, or frighten the Andresens.”
She says she continued to receive sexual email as well.
She says the entire ordeal has terrified her entire family, including her three young children.
The Andresens seek punitive damages for intentional inflection of emotional distress, defamation, assault, and negligence.
They are represented by Brett Hager with Sanders & Parks.